Hsc Belonging- the Simple Gift

Topics: Gift Pages: 80 (2726 words) Published: August 23, 2013
The
 Simple
 Gift
 (1996)
 Steven
 Herrick
 
  Introduction
 
-­‐ In
 its
 essence,
 The
 Simple
 Gift,
 explores
 belonging
 as
 a
 personally
  transformative
 process
 intrinsically
 linked
 to
 the
 development
 of
 conscience
  and
 identity.
  -­‐ In
 Billy,
 Herrick
 has
 created
 a
 character
 who
 journeys
 from
 a
 psychic
 and
  physical
 space
 of
 dislocation
 and
 isolation
 to
 a
 space
 of
 attachment
 and
  community.
  -­‐ However,
 Herrick
 provides
 an
 intricate
 tapestry
 in
 which
 ‘belonging’
 via
  connection
 to
 others
 is
 only
 possible
 once
 characters
 acknowledge
 their
  connection
 to
 their
 own
 self:
 their
 conscience
 and
 their
 identity.
  -­‐ In
 this
 sense,
 The
 Simple
 Gift
 is
 a
 story
 of
 self-­‐healing
 and
 self-­‐enlightenment
  as
 we
 watch
 the
 novel’s
 protagonist,
 Billy,
 come
 of
 age.
 (The
 verse
 novel
  plays
 on
 aspects
 of
 the
 bildungsroman
 genre).
  -­‐ The
 verse
 novel
 is
 written
 in
 the
 first
 person
 allowing
 the
 reader
 direct
 access
  to
 the
 characters’
 thoughts
 and
 as
 such,
 fostering
 his
 or
 her
 connection
 with
  them.
  -­‐ The
 use
 of
 the
 first
 person
 also
 authenticates
 each
 of
 the
 characters
 making
  them
 more
 likable
 and
 understandable.
 There
 is
 little
 emotionality
 in
 the
  characters’
 voices
 and
 as
 such,
 we
 are
 able
 to
 more
 authentically
 ‘observe’
  the
 characters
 and
 form
 more
 meaningful
 judgments
 about
 them.
 This
 allows
  the
 reader
 to
 engage
 with
 the
 text
 more
 openly
 and
 encourages
 our
  attachment
 to
 it
 and
 its
 characters.
  -­‐ -­‐ Herrick
 also
 avoids
 overly
 poetic
 language
 in
 order
 to
 render
 the
 authentic
  voice
 of
 the
 characters
 and
 avoid
 distancing
 his
 reader.
 
  He
 makes
 the
 novel
 distinctly
 Australian
 via
 the
 use
 of
 vernacular,
 sense
 of
  place
 and
 direct
 references
 by
 the
 characters.
 In
 doing
 so,
 the
 reader
 

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1

understands
 that
 he
 is
 commenting
 on
 how
 a
 young
 person
 may
 negotiate
  experiences
 of
 belonging
 in
 this
 particular
 context.
  -­‐ Motifs
 and
 symbols
 (keys,
 windows,
 rain,
 gifts,
 food,
 water,
 hands,
 houses)
  are
 littered
 throughout
 the
 novel
 as
 Herrick
 signposts
 the
 important
  moments
 of
 the
 characters’
 journeys
 of
 self-­‐discovery
 and
 belonging.
 

 

Context
 
-­‐ In
 an
 interview
 on
 his
 website,
 Herrick
 provides
 information
 regarding
 the
  context
 of
 the
 verse
 novel.
 He
 stayed
 in
 a
 disused
 railway
 carriage
 in
 Ballarat
  when
 he
 was
 young,
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